Out of the Mouth of Babes

How may syllables are there in the word Mum? Wrong. Our kids can manage four.

Scene: Me and Mrs P in the kitchen. Enter number one daughter stage right. Read more ›››

Onward and Upward

For someone with a morbid fear of heights, Pat did a great job of clambering 20 feet up a ladder at the front of our house to fill a hole in the mortar work today. It had been letting in the rain and there is a damp patch in our bathroom. Read more ›››

Ahoy! And Avast Behind!

Ah har Jim lad, today be International Talk Like a Pirate Day, shiver me timbers an’ splice me mainbrace. ‘Tis a wondrous life bein’ a pirate, so it is, specially when the sun crosses the yardarm, yo ho ho an’ a bottle o’ rum. A stump fer a leg, a patch o’er yer eye, the skull an’ crossbones flyin’ high an’ parrot droppin’s on yer shoulder. What man cud wish… Read more

On the Carpet

I pass no comment that the RSPCA should find 244 dogs in a three bedroom cottage near Carnforth other than this. We have just two dogs and a house somewhat larger, but whenever we turn round, we forever risk tripping over one of the brutes. Alan and Rosalind Gregson must have spent their entire lives flat on the carpet. Read more ›››

I Really Must Get Out More

The whole family is a little weary tonight. Work is probably the main reason, particularly for Pat who is up to her eyes, and number one daughter, Bryony, who has been on a work experience placement at Hope Hospital.

But the other reason is that we had a family outing to the theatre last night, and while it wasn’t exactly what you would call a late one, we really, really enjoyed ourselves. Read more ›››

118 is a Tragic Number

A couple of weeks ago, British Telecom lost its monopoly 192 phone directory service. Another ten companies stepped into its place, all starting with the numbers 118. Offtel’s argument being that competition would reduce costs and stimulate the market.

The first claim may or may not be true as the charging systems are so complex that it isn’t easy to work out, but it certainly feels more expensive. BT charged 40p for up to two numbers, but one of the new services charges 25p connection charge plus 30p a minute, so the charge is at least 55p whether they find the number or not. Read more ›››

Trevor MacDonald Can be Bad for Your Health

There is nothing the media loves better than a good health scare story — MMR, SARS, vCJD, the list goes on and on. The first real biggie in my memory was AIDS. There were acres of newsprint and countless hours of tv predicting the demise of mankind (sorry personkind ), and has it happened? No.

But the coverage can have a major impact on people’s behaviour. During the above AIDS coverage (it wasn’t HIV then) I happened to be spending a week at the Department of Health’s press office. A minister had been cornered into saying (by the Sun, I think) that he would have no qualms in drinking from a cup that someone with AIDS had drunk from. Read more ›››